Head and shoulder massage techniques


06:30 September 19, 2022

Dear Wellness Reader, how important is a hug to your personal well-being?

The recent past experience of not being able to hug loved ones for a period of time has reinforced the idea that the power of touch is an invaluable component of positive well-being.

The sense of touch is the first sense to develop in man and the last to diminish.

Physical contact reduces our stress levels – and it’s something many of us will have been deprived of during the pandemic.
– Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It is well documented, physical contact reduces our stress and anxiety levels by triggering a release of endorphins and is perfectly multifaceted as it takes many different forms; as solace, as solace, as love, and as part of the holistic practice of massage therapy.

Massage has been around since “donkeys” (as my farmer neighbor would say); in other words, the best part of 5,000 years.

It has been incorporated into civilizations and religions and has many branches of techniques.

Although massage has had its fair share of bad press with reports of unregulated practice, regulated professional massage therapy now plays a pivotal role in incorporating complementary therapy into general medical practice for remedial and relaxing purposes.

Did you know that massage is classified as a non-traditional and alternative practice, but when combined with conventional medicine, massage therapy is known as a complementary practice?

As the conversation about the importance of personal well-being grows, we have come to realize that hands-on therapy is now seen as an essential beneficial element in our busy lives, rather than the experience of luxury it once was. It can be designed to rehabilitate or, well, you know…slow you down!

This age-old staple continues to have an effective and positive influence on the well-being of mind and body.

Here are three effective, step-by-step, easy-to-follow massage sequences you can try at home.

What follows has been expertly designed for everyone, but if you feel any pain or discomfort while doing these sequences, please stop as they probably aren’t right for you.

Massaging the scalp can help with relaxation

Massaging the scalp can help with relaxation
– Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Find a comfortable, quiet space away from noise and distractions. Use cushions to support your body where you feel they are needed. Sitting upright in your comfortable position, take a few moments to inhale and exhale deeply to allow the mind and body to relax and unwind.

1. With hands apart, place your fingertips on your temples at the hairline. Press your fingers into your scalp until you reach that level of pressure that’s comfortable for you, then slowly begin to glide your fingers from the hairline to the top of your head maintaining the same depth of pressure.

2. Reaching the top of your head, interlace your fingers and change the pressure from fingertips to the heels of your hands. Slowly press the heels into the scalp, again until you feel a comfortable pressure for you. Hold this pressure for five seconds, then slowly release your hands away from your head.

3. Continue this sequence of gentle pressure with your heels, all over the scalp, targeting areas that feel tense and sensitive. For an additional release of tension, inhale deeply as you maintain heel pressure and exhale as you begin to move away from the scalp.

4. Finish your head massage by making light circles of pressure with your fingertips around the scalp, with particular emphasis on the temples, around the ears and at the base of the skull. For deeper pressure, use your knuckles instead of your fingertips as the pressure turns.

Kate's at-home massage technique can help relax tight shoulders

Kate’s at-home massage technique can help relax tight shoulders
– Credit: Getty Images

1. Placing your right hand on your left shoulder, use your fingers to briskly rub down the back of the shoulder, across the top of the shoulder, down the front of the shoulder and into the pectoral area.

2. Squeezing the top of the shoulder between the fingers and the heel of the hand, apply pressure a little at a time. It can be as firm as it is comfortable for you. Then release. Continue this squeezing motion up and down the top of the shoulder several times.

3. Complete the sequence by continuing the movement from the shoulder up then the forearm.

4. Repeat on opposite side.

Interlace your fingers and place them behind your head. Slowly and gently push your head towards your chest. When you feel a comfortable stretch in your neck, hold this position for five seconds, then bring your head back to center and lower your arms.

Between the knees and the toes
1. Starting just below the shin, use your thumb to press and then release the pressure in the calf muscle. Work from top to bottom.

2. Next, with the heel of your hand, begin an up and down kneading motion of the calf muscle ensuring a comfortable level of pressure.

3. Next, place your hand in a cup and with a steady pace (and comfortable pressure), move your lower leg up and down.

4. Repeat on opposite leg.

Our wellness columnist Kate Smith

Our wellness columnist Kate Smith
– Credit: Assessed

Kate Smith is the founder of Slow You Down Wellbeing.

Combining over 20 years of experience in stress relief and bodywork in occupational health and private practice, Kate has designed a series of wellness packages including meditation, strategies adaptation and mindful massage to help Norfolk relax and breathe.

See slowyoudownwellbeing.co.uk


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